Cloth Washing

This is truly a Montessori child at work! Water splashed all over the hair, floor and clothes, suds on the face, his arm stuck through the apron head-hole, and his head through the arm-hole…in complete bliss and happiness as he washes the cloths. He completed this work all on his own, with no adult redirection, from start to finish. He is definitely a seasoned cloth washer!

Exploring the Senses: Ice

Never miss an opportunity to explore the senses!

Today’s random ice storm presented quite a few challenges for the school, but amongst the chaos, came wonderful, spontaneous learning opportunities for the students. We heard thunder first, then slight rain, and then all of a sudden…HAIL! Some of the teachers were brave enough to venture outside and gather a bucket full of ice to share with their students. We discussed how hail is formed, felt its texture, how cold it was, learned how fast it melted, and explored different shapes and manipulations of the ice when compressed in your hands. Our toddlers enjoyed the sound of the ice as it “crunched” in between their fingers. The crunchy, squishy, cold sensation was very enjoyable! (A few suggested we even make snow cones!)

How neat it is to hold frozen rain in our hands!

Ice - Copy ice_2 (2)

“Nothing comes to the intellect that is not first in the senses” – Dr. Maria Montessori

Fire Truck Visit: National Fire Prevention Week

Fire Truck_4

We had a surprise visit from the Fire Truck last Friday, during the conclusion of National Fire Prevention Week. Our young friends had the opportunity to sit inside the firetruck, and discover the many tools, buttons and sounds that a firetruck makes. Fun Fact: did you know that a fire truck holds over 500 gallons of water?! That’s amazing!
Fire Truck_5

We learned not be afraid of fire-fighters when they come to rescue us in a house fire. Even though they wear a big mask, and their air tank is loud, they’re there to help us!

If we see a fire, we always call 9-1-1. And of course, our friends had fun practicing the “stop, drop, roll” tactic whenever our clothes catch on fire.
Fire Truck_2We listened and waited patiently as the firemen explained the process of putting out a house fire, and the many tools they use in order to efficiently complete the job.Fire Truck_1Fire Truck_3Even the littlest of our friends enjoyed a sneak peak at the fire truck during their morning stroll outside.

It’s important to always be prepared in the event there is a house fire that requires emergency evacuation. For tips on how to incorporate fire safety and prevention in your home, visit the links below:

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/home-fire
http://www.nsc.org/safety_home/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Pages/Fire.aspx

Special thanks to the City of Plano Fire Department for taking the time to visit our school and educate our students on fire safety and prevention!

Enjoy the 4th – But Watch Kids Around Water: DFW Area Leads State with 12 Deaths

Children under the age of one year most often drown inside the house, while older children most often drown outdoors. Outdoors, children most often drown in pools, especially backyard and apartment pools. Most young children who drown in pools were … Continue reading

National Safety Month: 5 Summer Safety Tips

June is now known as “National Safety Month“. What better time to practice and recognize different ways to keep safe than during the summer? With the frequent outdoor visits, high temps, easy access to swimming pools/water, it’s very important to know how to be safe at all times, and what to do in an emergency situation. Here are some very helpful parent tips to keep your family safe this summer:

1)  Never leave your child alone in a hot car, even if just for a few minutes

best-child-car-seat-1It can happen to the best of parents. We get busy and forget our sleeping little ones are just behind us, nestled comfortably in their car seat. The thought is enough to keep you up at night. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, the temperature inside an average car or truck can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. A child’s body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, causing heatstroke, brain damage and even death. It can happen to anyone, anywhere. That’s why it’s so important to never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. There are so many tips to help you not forget your child in the car. You can place all of your belongings (purse, briefcase, phone) beside your child’s seat so that you’re forced to check the back seat. A stuffed animal placed in their car seat when they’re not in it can be removed and placed on your lap while driving with baby-in-tow. A large object like that can serve as a reminder that there’s someone in the backseat.
https://www.kidcentraltn.com/article/look-before-you-lock-don-t-leave-kids-alone-in-hot-cars-1
http://www.safekids.org/tip/car-seat-tips

2)  Wear sunscreen every time you go outside, and apply multiple times!
Boy_Applying_Sunscreen_H

You don’t need to hide from the sun completely or wrap up like a mummy to protect yourself. But you should take these two steps:

  1. Always wear sunscreen.
  2. Take frequent breaks from the sun by going indoors or moving into the shade.

These steps are especially important between 10:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon, when the sun’s rays are strongest. Use a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher. Put on sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before going out in the sun. The letters SPF stand for sun protection factor, and the number rating tells you how much longer you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. But this isn’t always true, so reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, just to be safe. Do this more often if you’ve been swimming or sweating a lot — even if the sunscreen is waterproof. And remember that you can get sunburned more quickly when you’re swimming or boating because the reflection from the water intensifies the sun’s rays.
http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/summer_safety.html?tracking=83954_H

3)  Keep your car locked and your keys out of reach from your children

plastic-car-keys-440Children copy what they see. Perfect example, my two year old son will take my keys and go around the house trying to unlock all of the door knobs, even if they don’t have a key hole. This can actually be quite dangerous if the child has access to your car on a hot day. If unsupervised, they can unlock the car very easily and hop inside. However, they may not be able to get out as easily. Be sure to always lock your car, even if it’s parked in your garage, and place your keys in an area away from your child’s reach.

4)  Keeping Fit & Having Fun
Kids Summer

Incorporate a water sprinkler, pool or child-safe water table during outdoor playtime. A water sprinkler creates a fun source of exercise for your little ones, allowing them to stretch their limbs and run around, while staying cool at the same time. Using a water table also allows the child to explore different water toys, learning to discriminate against what does and does not float, or transfering water; a great work in concentration and hand-eye coordination.

5) Swimming Lessons

Swimming Lessons

Swimming lessons are extremely essential in teaching your child how to swim properly, or to prevent drowning. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend beginning formal swimming lessons until kids are at least 4 years old because that is the age that children are thought to be ‘developmentally ready’ for swim lessons. However, it certainly would not hurt to introduce your child to the water at whatever age you are most comfortable with! Personally, the earlier they dip their toes in the water, the better as this will help them become better acclimated to the guidelines of a swimming pool at an earlier age. Make sure they are wearing age-appropriate safety equipment. Proper adult supervision should be present at all times, of course.
http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/weeklyquestion/a/swim_lessons.htm

Most importantly, remember to hydrate, wear sunscreen and maintain appropriate clothing coverage while spending time outdoors this summer. Remember to have fun and stay safe!

Flower Arranging

flower arranging

It’s not uncommon to see small flower arrangements adorning tables in a Montessori classroom. This is a work called “flower arranging”, and is a favorite for any young child. Each week, our families participate in a “flower basket” program, and bring fresh flowers for the classroom on a rotating basis. The flowers are then used for flower arranging. It’s impressive to watch a child carefully engage in this exercise. They start with putting on an apron, and then fetch water in the small pitcher provided. Now, they must control their movement while walking across the room without spilling water. If there is any water left in their small pitcher, they pour it into the tiny funnel placed in a small vase. They repeat this step several times until the vase is full. Once the flowers have been arranged, the child will display them on the shelf.  Sometimes, they change the location of the vases throughout the work cycle.  Now, they must restore the work area in it’s original condition.  Cleaning up is a big job. They must dump and wipe up all extra water on the table, then Swiffer the excess water from the floor which is usually a large area.  It’s not uncommon for a child to be engaged in this work for over an hour.

What are they learning while arranging flowers? They are refining gross and fine motor skills, concentration, self-regulation, control of movement, sequencing, eye-and-hand coordination and practical life skills.

In the toddler community the focus is on “care of self”, “care of environment” and “grace and courtesy”. Activities such as this help the children work with purpose and concentration as they move about the classroom.

“A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.” -Dr. Maria Montessori

Video of the Day: Transformation Tuesday, Handwashing